Selected Bird News from Drs. Rainer Ertel, Peter Berndt and Nial Moores
A quick birding trip was taken along the west coast, visiting Seosan (June 9th and 10th, and again briefly on 12th); Heuksan Island and adjacent sea-areas (June 10th-12th); and Song Do, Incheon (June 13th). Selected highlights included:
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos. One at Song Do on 13th.
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata. Two or more likely three males were at Song Do on 13th (there are fewer than ten previous records of over-summering birds known to Birds Korea).
Common Pochard Aythya ferina. One was at Song Do on 13th (there are fewer than ten national records of over-summering birds known to Birds Korea, with most such records in recent years).
Greater Scaup Aythya marila One was at Song Do on 13th (as with the above two species, there are fewer than ten national records of over-summering birds known to Birds Korea).
Arctic Loon Gavia arctica. One (apparently in rather poor condition) was in the main harbour on Heuksan Island on 11th. There are very few previous mid-summer records known to Birds Korea, though one was seen off Daejin, Gangwon Province by Dr. Shim Kyu-Sik and others on June 10th 2012; and single Arctic Loon were present in mid-May this year at Boryeong and Taean.
Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes. At least ten were seen (mixed in with small groups of Streaked Shearwater Calonectris leucomelas) off Heuksan on 10th.
Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel Oceanodroma monorhis. At least 100 (and possibly rather more) were seen off Heuksan on 10th; and seven were seen between Bigeum and Heuksan from the commercial ferry on 10th and 12th.
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus. Probably ten were present at Seosan, where presumably breeding, on 9th and 10th.
Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor. At least 80 were present at the main breeding island in Song Do on 13th, including 20-30 (and possibly rather more) young of the year.
Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis. Probably 20 were present at Seosan on 9th and 10th, including several displaying males.
Von Schrenck’s Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus. Fast-declining in the ROK (largely due to infrastructural over-development and because of disturbance by recreational fishers). One was heard on 9th and a male was feeding in the open at Seosan on 10th.
Watercock Gallicrex cinerea. A male (not fully in breeding plumage) was seen at Seosan on 10th and was heard there again on 12th.
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa melanuroides. A flock of 90+ (92 were counted) was at Song Do on 13th. There are fewer than ten mid-summer records known to Birds Korea (most at Seosan).
Saunders’s Gull Chroicocephalus saundersi. About 20 adults were seen at Song Do on 13th.
Mongolian Gull Larus mongolicus. Although no formal count was attempted, probably 70 adults, three immatures and probably more than 20 young of the year were on the Song Do breeding island on 13th.
Common Tern Sterna hirundo. At least ten and possibly as many as 15 (all believed to be longipennis) were present at sea off Heuksan Island on 10th. The date and that some of these were not in full breeding plumage likely suggests over-summering rather than late migration.
South Polar Skua Stercorarius maccormicki. One was seen excellently as it preened on a buoy off Heuksan on 10th. Unlike most birds seen in Korean waters, this was a pale-end individual. Hand-held images taken through a Coolpix (by NM) will soon be followed by much more professional images (taken by RE)…
Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus. One was seen distantly from the commercial ferry between Bigeum and Heuksan on 10th.
Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus. One (perhaps a third calendar year?) was seen excellently as it perched on a buoy c.15km from Heuksan Island on 10th. Images (taken by RE) will be posted later. In recent years this has been the least-often reported of the three regularly-occurring stercorarius.
Black Wood Pigeon Columba janthina. At least one was seen (and perhaps another was heard) on Heuksan on 11th.
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus. Although sometimes claimed “never” to use hosts in reed-beds in Korea, a female repeatedly over-flew a reed-bed at Seosan on 12th, with a slow, gliding flight – dropping into reeds at least twice (once to perch, another time in a much denser area, in an area with several singing male Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis). Images and some low quality video were taken.
Eurasian Eagle-Owl Bubo bubo. One was (unusually) perched in the open, on a telephone pole next to the road, at Seosan on 9th.
Black Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata. At least three were heard singing (two of which were seen poorly) at the south of Heuksan Island on 11th, and one was heard singing in the north of the island, at dawn on the 12th.
Light-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus sinensis. At least three were in the north and 3+ were in the south of Heuksan Island.
Kamchatka Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus examinandus. One was heard on Heuksan Island on 11th (NM only). Mid-June records of Arctic Warbler sensu lato almost certainly refer to late migrants – as none of the three species are (known to) breed on the Korean peninsula.
Styan’s Grasshopper Warbler Locustella pleskei. One was singing “lustily” in optimal breeding habitat on Heuksan Island on 11th.